The Raptors Struggling without Kyle Lowry
“It’s just the beginning of the season,” Bargnani said after the Toronto Raptors’ fifth loss in the season’s first six games, a worse-than-the-score-looked 93-83 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers. “So I have to stay positive. I have to believe it’s going to change. We’re going to fix that. I’m not going to be negative after [six] games.”
Now, that is entirely reasonable. The season just started, and to lose all faith now would make the remaining 76 games a rather daunting prospect. Plus, the Raptors have a built-in excuse: Kyle Lowry, the team’s new point guard who was so good in Toronto’s first three games, has sat out the last 10 quarters because of a sprained ankle. Lowry is quite clearly the Raptors’ best player, and losing your best player is, well, the opposite of helpful.
The Raptors, meanwhile, look as if they are marrying their identity to Lowry. Without him, there has been none of the defensive grime that defined the team last year even when things were going poorly, as they so often were. And, for all intents and purposes, the team that played on Saturday night was the rough equivalent of last year’s team, plus rookies Jonas Valanciunas and Terrence Ross. Yet, too often the Raptors are acquiescing to adversity.